Animal Farm by George Orwell: A Comparison of the Novel and Stalinist Russia

Essay by songkingJunior High, 9th gradeA+, October 2008

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In George Orwell's Animal Farm, a group of mistreated farm animals revolted against their human tyrant, Mr. Jones. The pigs, known to be the wisest of the animals, immediately established themselves as the new leaders of the farm, practicing what they called "Animalism" (a synonym for Communism). The farm animal's naïve trust in the pigs made it simple for this new society to evolve into a totalitarian society very similar to Mr. Jones. George Orwell surely modeled Animal Farm's characters and actions after the Russian Revolution in 1917 and its post-revolution period.

Old Major was the one who had envisioned and proposed Animalism-a "revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." However, according to Old Major, this could only be achieved by revolting against "the only creature that consumes without producing." In other words, without Man, animals would no longer starve or be overworked. Of course, the time and place of the rebellion was unknown.

Therefore, his philosophy was only an ideal. It was easy to say that Old Major was portrayed as a "good guy", but he had small inconsistencies which allowed the reader to question the motives of this venerable pig. For instance, in the midst of his long list of complaints and detailed mistreatments of each and every animal, he was forced to admit that he had not been a target of the cruelty. In fact, he had lived a life free from the terrors he had vividly described for his audience. He was twelve years old, which was the typical life span of a pig, and had over four hundred children. But to gain the support of the animals, he assured them that "no animal escapes the cruel knife in the end," in order to insure their support for his vision. Old Major was an obvious portrayal of Karl...